Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small Earthquakes are Useful Predictor of Large Ones

Date:
December 5, 2007
Source:
Seismological Society of America
Summary:
Conventional wisdom in seismology says slip on faults that rupture during the largest continental strike-slip earthquakes is generally limited to the seismogenic layer, the upper 15 km or so of the earth's crust to which aftershocks extend and background seismicity is limited. That idea when coupled with theory predicts that the amount of slip on faults in large earthquakes should not continue to increase once the dimensions of a rupture have surpassed about 15 km. The prediction is not supported by observation.

Conventional wisdom in seismology says slip on faults that rupture during the largest continental strike-slip earthquakes is generally limited to the seismogenic layer, the upper 15 km or so of the earth's crust to which aftershocks extend and background seismicity is limited.

That idea when coupled with theory predicts that the amount of slip on faults in large earthquakes should not continue to increase once the dimensions of a rupture have surpassed about 15 km. The prediction is not supported by observation. Slip does continue to increase as the length of earthquake ruptures increase. The contradiction between the prediction and observation has long been recognized to suggest that the physics of large earthquakes is different than small.

This interpretation has been unsettling because it lends uncertainty to the idea that observations from small earthquakes, which are far more abundant, can be scaled upward to make predictions about much less frequent but far more damaging large earthquakes that will occur in the future, a common practice in seismology.

New work by seismologists Geoffrey C. P. King and Steven G. Wesnousky shows how the conundrum may be resolved if slip during the largest earthquakes is allowed to extend modestly below the seismogenic layer and that the base of the seismogenic layer is marked by a transition to stable sliding rather than viscous relaxation.

Geoffrey C. P. King is the Director of the Laboratoire Tectonique at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique's Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. Steven G. Wesnousky is Director of the Center for Neotectonic Studies and Department of Geological Sciences University of Nevada-Reno.

This research was published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Seismological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Seismological Society of America. "Small Earthquakes are Useful Predictor of Large Ones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204154741.htm>.
Seismological Society of America. (2007, December 5). Small Earthquakes are Useful Predictor of Large Ones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204154741.htm
Seismological Society of America. "Small Earthquakes are Useful Predictor of Large Ones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204154741.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) At least six Nepalese guides are dead after an avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest along a route used to climb the world's highest peak. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins